ECU football to open home slate Saturday, city preps for economic impact

College Sports

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) A busy weekend is on tap for the city of Greenville, as East Carolina University’s football team makes final preparations for its home opener this Saturday against the University of South Carolina.

“We love this time of year,” Matthew Scully, owner and manager of The Scullery, said. “Greenville really comes back to life.”

Greenville is gearing up for the return of Pirate football this weekend inside Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium.

“We are really excited about having the Pirates in town. It will bring a crowd,” Scully said.

ECU opens its home slate Saturday against the Gamecocks, and the city has already begun feeling the economic impact.

There are two things helping to keep visitors happy – food and a place to sleep. Both are industries expected to benefit from the game.

“Everybody wants to get out early before tailgating and come to breakfast,” Scully said. “We always have a big day before football games.”

Additionally, people travel for the game and need a place to stay for the night, or even weekend.

“These first two games we are sold out,” Raj Parimu, general manager of Baymont Inn & Suites, said. “We are expecting a full house and we are excited about it. There will be a lot of new people coming and old people coming and that is what we want.”

With no capacity limit on attendance for ECU football games, many fans are expected to travel to the city for the event.

“It (has) really been wonderful to be able to have our business back and to be able to serve people,” Scully said. “We are still doing our best to keep people safe here and just hope that everybody is doing their part to be safe out in the community.”

After a long wait, the full Pirate effect, from tailgating to the game experience, is within reach.

“People are so excited about the football season finally being here and that they are playing games,” Parimu said. “The audience will be in the stands. All I can say is Go Pirates!”

Kickoff is set for Saturday at noon.

CBS 17 edited this article for its web copy.

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